When I learned she was dead, I was shocked but not surprised. She had been sick for a very long time, and I felt relief that her suffering had finally ended.

Knowing what I know about the struggles of my friend over the past 2 years, I’m not particularly interested in the details surrounding how she actually died. While sharing the news with a friend, I simply stated, “She was very sick.”

My friend asked, “Mentally or physically?”

Because I respect the memory of my friend, I didn’t want to answer the question despite knowing it was a perfectly acceptable and innocent question to ask.

Then I thought more about the question…

When we are sick, doesn’t the sickness affect our bodies and our minds?

Pain is not just physical; pain is mental and emotional.

When was the last time you hurt yourself and only that part of your body was affected?

When my belly hurts, my head hurts. When I cut myself or knock into a chair (because I’m clumsy sometimes), the pain is felt throughout my body. My mind becomes frustrated by my carelessness as much as my physical systems are stressed to heal my bruise or bump.

And just like our minds are affected by physical pain and injury, our bodies become affected when the pain and injury starts in our minds.

Many who have suffered psychological abuse leading to depression and self-defeating thoughts can attest: if we don’t have the tools to help us mentally heal, our physical bodies are directly compromised and weakened.

So many women I speak with daily through this blog suffer from physical conditions like fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal malfunctioning, exhaustion, insomnia, cancer…the list goes on.

I believe, regardless if the pain begins in our physical bodies or in our minds, we have the power and capacity to help ourselves heal.

(I’m not against medical treatment. Not at all. But I believe we can positively supplement medical treatments by remembering to think and be mindful of our inner power to heal.)

We need to stop putting pain and healing into buckets of physical or mental sickness. When we are sick, we are sick–body and mind. And because it’s our body and mind that is sick, we need to shift our thinking away from pills and band aids that only treat the original source of our pain and instead use a more holistic and mindful approach to healing.

I put this out there not because I read something (although I do read stuff) or because someone told me that’s how it should be. I put this out there because I have benefited from holistic healing unaware that I was helping myself holistically. It’s only been within the last 12 months or so that I have been able to step outside of the work I’ve done and analyze it.

I’ve tried just pills; I’ve tried just exercising.

I stopped the pills and stopped exercising for the sake of exercising. The pills didn’t make my depression go away anymore than exercising helped my knee pain go away.

What helped was taking a good hard look at everything I consumed and every activity I participated and every person I allowed to affect my thoughts and actions.

I love yoga. I love studying about nutrition. I love sharing what I have learned. I’m not a selfish asshole content with my own self-awareness. I want and wish for all of my friends and family members to benefit from what I have learned. It’s what drives me to keep me writing and spewing through my keyboard.

If you know me personally, you have surely heard me say, “You should try yoga!!”

It’s important to know that I’ll probably continue encouraging you to try yoga, especially if you keep insisting on complaining to me about how unhappy and in pain you are.

(Keep in mind that I want you to complain to me. I won’t judge you, but I will say, “You should try yoga!”)

If I didn’t care about you, I wouldn’t want to share with you what has worked for me…almost like a magic pill.

And because you welcome my repeated and annoying suggestions, I also welcome your advice to me even if your advice is to tell me to just shut up already.

I’ll take my chances at being the friend that annoys you.


(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/315814992590392541/)

Emotional Abuse, Family, Fitness, Friends, Health, Journaling, Lessons, Love, Mental Health, mindfulness, Psychopaths, Rape, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Social Studies, Sociopaths, Spirituality, Writing, Yoga
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Join the conversation! 16 Comments

  1. Oh.. I forgot to tell you that photo is AWESOME!!


  2. I am sorry for your loss. I agree totally with you about self healing and you have given me the nudge I need to start yoga again. I have always said that EVERYTHING was better when I practiced and I must examine the reasons I stopped in the first place. Self abuse can take on the shape of NOT doing something!! I wish for you peace and love. Blessitude – Lorrie


  3. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Your message, though is powerful and poignant. For me, the paragraph that began with “What helped was taking a good look…” As I get older (and I hope, wiser) your words carry a particular resonance. I am seeing how everything plays a role in my life and well-being. Please take care of yourself.


  4. I’m sorry you lost your friend, Paula. xxoo


  5. Paula, I know your friend is in heaven getting her soul re-energized. Please feel free to annoy me anytime your friendship is so worth it.



  6. Paula, I feel for you over this loss. 😦


  7. Paula, sorry about your loss.

    Your words and work are always ‘right on’. Even with all the investigating I’ve done with holistic healings I MUST rely on the current medical doctors, we all must! But we must be INFORMED and be very pro-active in our own health and care.

    It’s like when you have a clog kitchen sink…sure try the liquid plumber first, but there does come a time when you really have to get that real plumber. PREVENTIVE care is a must and unfortunately our current health care system and insurance company will NOT pay for them and so we must get out there and learn for ourselves and do for ourselves before we need that plumber.

    Yoga is the best thing any one can do for themselves! You learn, over time, all kinds of things…one thing leads to another. In 1998 I started yoga because I was a MESS. It has been from yoga that I’ve learned so many holistic systems. Even if you are not an inquisitive type you WILL learn about yourself and your body and spirit and you will be able to help yourself. It’s about quality of life!

    Recently I convince my 72 year partner to do yoga. He is very active and healthy, is a 2nd degree Black Belt about to test for 3rd degree, but has little ‘body awareness’. Yoga is not like karate or the gym. So, we are doing a medium level Kripala (body/breath awareness) yoga class together. I do Ashtanga yoga twice a week.

    Yoga is NOT only about stretches and relaxation…those things help but there’s more much more and only by doing will you know. You can read all the books you want on it but until you DO IT you can’t know how much you shall gain from it.

    Again Paula, I’m sorry for your loss.


  8. Hopefully your friend has found the peace she obviously was not getting here on earth, it is always hard to see someone we love suffering.
    You are so right (I say that a lot :)) and it amazes me that the medical profession and the mental health professionals don’t give more credence to the connection between mental and physical health. Women who have been (notice I said have been, meaning they may be out of the relationship now) are 70% more likely to have heart disease. Stress and grief can do phenomenal damage to a person’s physical well being; yoga is a way of dealing with that stress so it doesn’t affect your body. Of course I tend to focus on the heart issues because that is what I suffer from but like you said, cancer, intestinal, ulcers, PTSD which can include a host of ailments.
    That is why simply getting a woman out of an abusive relationship is not enough; there has to be focus on her whole body and mind and to simply tell her to “get over it and move on” is worse than doing nothing.
    When people don;’t see bruises they don’t believe there is physical damage; and they are so so away from the truth it is ridiculous.


  9. May your dear friend R I P and that you get comfort in knowing that she lived her life as someone who loved. Love is both emotional and physical. So it seems that she gave it everything she could. How blessed you were to receive her gifts and she to receive yours.♥


  10. I’m sorry for your loss. Never easy to lose a friend.


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